A leaked memo from Amazon allegedly details how the eCommerce giant is concerned about running out of people to hire for its warehouses. This perhaps isn’t surprising as in June 2021 the New York Times ran a piece detailing the results of an investigation that put the Amazon staff turnover rate at 150%.
The memo leak has been outed by Recode a part of the Vox Media family in an article where they dive deep into the worker crisis. They allege that the leaked memo states “If we continue business as usual, Amazon will deplete the available labor supply in the US network by 2024,”
One former warehouse manager had the following to say about the genuine worry around staff levels at their warehouses.
“They were so concerned about attrition and losing people that they rolled back all the policies that us as managers had to enforce,”
“There was a joke among the … managers that it didn’t matter what [workers] got written up for because we knew HR was gonna exempt it. It was almost impossible to get fired as a worker.”Michael Garrigan, Former entry-level warehouse manager, Amazon.
The Amazon Slow Down Adding Slight Respite
The only good news is that the memo is allegedly from mid-2021 and since then there has been a noted slowdown across the Amazon business. Earlier this year when Amazon announced its Q1 results for 2022, Wall Street analysts were quick to note the missed earnings expectations, with the company slowing down in terms of its income.
This even led to some news reports in early 2022 stating how the eCommerce giant was actually overstaffed and they were holding back on some previously held expansion plans.
Whilst Amazon consistently wins awards for its role as a leading employer in the US, those are for its positions in offices and home-based roles and not those in its warehouses. Amazon has had a number of reported issues with its working conditions in warehouses leading to the most recent unionization in Staten Island.
There are a number of ways the marketplace can help out its warehouse staffing issue in the long term, whether that be increasing wages, further automating using robots, or making working conditions better for its workers.
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